Catalina Lauf, a 26-year-old Republican, is running for Congress, taking aim at a seat currently held by a Democrat. She is billing herself as the anti-AOC, hoping to serve as a counterpoint to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “squad” in Congress. Along with openly supporting President Donald Trump’s border wall, Lauf has also expressed her admiration for Ronald Reagan.
Lauf, a young Latina from Woodstock, Illinois – which sits outside of the Chicago area – would become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she wins the seat, a record currently held by AOC.
“I think it’s time that people step forward who want to unite the country and do it for the right reasons,” said Lauf, according to a report by the New York Post.
Lauf describes herself as a “lifelong conservative.” She announced her intention to run for the Illinois 14th Congressional District seat on Tuesday. She will be facing off against the incumbent, Democrat Lauren Underwood.
A former Trump administration adviser, Lauf is also self-described as a “Latina by heart, American first.” Her father is an American while her mother is Guatemalan.
In her announcement video, Lauf labeled AOC as one of the “angry voices who seek to divide us.”
“I think people like AOC and that group are focusing on an agenda that is so detrimental to our country,” said Lauf.
“They are not being leaders,” she continued. “They are part of the problem.”
When asked about her support of Trump as a minority candidate, Lauf expressed her desire for a strong border. She also denied claims that Trump was racist.
“I’m the daughter of a legal immigrant,” said Lauf. “We’re for legal immigration. That’s not racism. You should be a law-abiding citizen.”
Lauf also considered herself a proud capitalist, showing admiration for her father’s – a small-business owner – entrepreneurial spirit.
Lauf said she was prompted to run after Underwood called for Trump’s impeachment earlier this month. She accused the incumbent of not representing the traditionally Republican district, which is mostly rural.
“I want to break the stereotype that Republicans aren’t empathetic,” said Lauf.
“Being Republican doesn’t mean I don’t care.”